Advocacy Groups and Government Agencies
Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect in recent years has given rise to a wide variety of advocacy groups and government monitoring agencies. It is important to note, however, that because of the nature of the regulating procedures for nursing homes (particularly state-by-state licensure) many advocacy groups and agencies are regional, state-wide, or even local. What follows is a brief list of larger organizations, some of which are limited in scope to statewide activism. Despite this, each provides invaluable resources for study and a starting point for more research on the subject.
AAHSA — American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
2519 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging seeks to help individuals and their families through their member not-for-profit organizations. There are currently 5,700 member organizations, providing services ranging from adult day care, home health, community services, senior housing, assisted living residences, and nursing homes.
CANHR — California Activists for Nursing Home Reform
650 Harrison Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94107
CANHR is a statewide activist group founded in 1983 and currently operating as a nonprofit organization. CANHR focuses on direct advocacy, community education, legislation, and litigation. CANHR seeks to create a strong advocacy for long-term care reform and humane alternatives to institutionalization.
LTCCC — Long Term Care Community Coalition
242 West 30th Street, Suite 306
New York, NY 10001
This New York-based activist group was first brought together in the late 1970s after a string of scandals in New York State involving long-term care facilities. In 1982 the group became a permanent watchdog for the industry. It was incorporated in 1989. LTCCC works actively with the government to improve long-term care in the state and the country.
NCCNHR — National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform
1828 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Formed in 1975, the NCCNHR is known as “The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care” and endeavors to address such issues as inadequate staffing in nursing homes, poor working conditions, maintenance of residents’ rights and empowerment of residents, support for family members, and the results of poor care, such as pressure sores, dehydration, incontinence, and contracture of residents’ muscles.
Federal State and Agencies
The federal government has assembled an extraordinary amount of information, including objective and honest ratings of nursing homes throughout the country, a nursing home “check list” for selecting the right facility for your loved one, a list of nursing home residents’ rights, and many other unique tools for researching and understanding nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Administration on Aging
Part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, the AoA has been given the mission of helping elderly individuals “maintain their dignity and independence in their homes and communities through comprehensive, coordinated, and cost effective systems of long-term care, and livable communities across the U.S.” One of the programs managed by the AoA is the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which helps fund and train ombudsmen at the state level to serve as advocates for nursing home patients. To find the ombudsman office for your state, go to http://www.ltcombudsman.org/ombudsman.
Each of the fifty states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have at least one department or agency devoted to nursing home certification and oversight, eldercare, and advocacy for the elderly. These agencies can assist you when you are deciding which facility best meets your loved one’s needs or when trying to resolve problems with the care your loved one is receiving. Usually the agency is a division of the state’s Department of Social Services or Department of Health. To find the office for your state, go to http://www.ltcombudsman.org/ombudsman.
Remember you also have the right to take legal action if you suspect abuse or neglect. Even if you are unsure what legal options you wish to pursue you should contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your situation.